Every time Mariah Murphy runs, she dedicates it to her former coach and favorite teacher, Brian Simpson, who was killed in a car crash in September 2017.
Murphy was one of five student-athletes on the bus Simpson, 37, was driving when Brandon Brill collided with it head-on, causing the two vehicles to overturn and the bus to catch on fire. Simpson was announced dead at the scene of the crash, and the students were taken to University Hospital with injuries.
Murphy was one of two student victims who testified in court Tuesday before Brill, 27, of Clark, was sentenced to 22 years in prison by Judge Jeff Harris.
During the accident, Murphy's glasses fell off so she couldn't see clearly.
"The only thing I could see was the truck that crossed the line," Murphy said.
Brill pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault in July. He was previously charged with second-degree murder.
"I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering I've caused," Brill told Simpson's friends and family members. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt anyone."
At a 13th Circuit Court hearing in July, Brill said he had worked more than 100 hours in the weeks before the crash and was driving home from a 16-hour shift at a nursing home in Centralia.
Brill was previously convicted of driving without a license and resisting arrest, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Supervising editors are Katherine Reed and Sky Chadde.